Cover Image: You Owe Me One, Universe

You Owe Me One, Universe

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Member Reviews

We don't always get such complex emotions in middle grade fiction. Lucas accurately portrays not only the realities of depression and self doubt, but also the affects on those around a struggling kid. THe ways that a hard situation is made harder when a kid doesn't have the emotional vocabulary to express what they are going through. It doesn't make excuses for behavior or bad choices, only walks us through what these kids do and allows us to draw our own conclusions. It's a tough read and may be too intense for some.

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I realized too late that this was a second book of a series. I am accustomed to starting a series from the middle, but I somehow felt a bit distanced to the book, as if I could not get to know who is who and what is going on there.
While I was warming up to the content of the book by reading how those young people explore their beings and enter into life, I realized that I like the book and the characters.
The characters are each unique and their relationships grow up by the minute.
I could not even understand how I came to the end of the book, it was over too soon, but maybe exactly where it should have ended.
Now I have to find the first book ;)

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I wasn’t going to give feedback, but I changed my mind. I think this book is really cute, I just didn’t realize it would be an audio book when I requested it. I’m not good with audio books. I’m better at reading. Either way, cute book.

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Thank you netgalley and rb Media for the free alc in exchange for my honest review. I didn't realize when I requested it this is part of a series. I will absolutely circle back and check out book 1. I love that kids will have access to books that may help them figure out who they are and how to have healthy relationships. I didn't have these ki d of books growing up and would have benefitted from it. Have Little (middle grade ) check out this book

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Ein tolles Jugendbuch mit all den großen Themen der heutigen Zeit. Wichtig, auch witzig. Der Leser wächst mit ohne dass mit dem Finger auf ihn gezeigt wird. Gelungen.

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Thanks to NetGalley for the audio ARC!

I read Thanks a Lot, Universe at the beginning of this year, and absolutely adored it. As in I listened to it in one day, even though I was supposed to be studying, because I just could not stop. Since finding out there would be a sequel I have been so so excited, and when I stumbled upon the ARC on NetGalley I obviously had to request it (desperately hoping it would get approved). When my request did get approved I got so excited I literally started jumping around squealing. Ehm yeah. So I guess you could say I loved the first book in this series.

In preparation for reading You Owe Me One, Universe I reread Thanks a Lot, Universe, and I told myself I could not read all of it in a day this time because I'm literally writing my thesis at the moment, but again once I started I could not stop, and a few hours later I found myself having finished the book. Whoops. I just love it so much!! Then the next day I started You Owe Me One, Universe, and can you guess what happened? Oh yes. I finished the entire book in one day again. No regrets. (Or maybe a few regrets since I really do need to finish my thesis.)

This series just fills me with so much happiness. Like yeah the boys go through so much, especially Brian, but the way they are always there for each other and just trying their best? It's so heartwarming. There are so many amazing characters in this series, from Ty and Kevin just being such good friends, to Gabe who basically adopts Brian as his little brother, and Gabe's mum who acts as a mum to both Brian and his younger brother, and Brittney (sorry I have no idea how her name is spelled) who's just generally awesome, to Ezra who's just trying his best, and sweet sweet Brian who's so strong, and so many other characters. I love them all so much.

Something else this book does so well is the depiction of Brian's depression (and his social anxiety). I can't recall ever reading another middle grade book like this, and having books showing mental illness in this way is so so important. Brian struggled so much, but he had so much support around him, and even if his friends didn't really understand it they never abandoned or gave up on him, and instead always did their best to help him.

I also need to mention the fact that Brian is 13-14 years old in this book, and he has never had a crush on anyone. He brings it up to multiple older people since the fact that he seems to be the only person his age feeling this way makes him a little worried, and everyone assures him that that is completely fine, and maybe he will start being attracted to people eventually, or maybe he won't, and either way is completely fine and normal. Most people just say that "oh you will fall in love eventually", or "you just haven't met the right person yet", but this book never does and that means so much to me as an aspec person, because yeah some of us really do never end up getting attracted to other people, and it's so important for the kids to know that there is absolutely nothing wrong with them if they don't!

There are few other MG books that have made me as emotional as this series did, and they will forever have a special place in my heart. I can't wait to reread both of the books (though maybe I should wait until I have actually finished writing my thesis before I do that).

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3.5 stars.
I liked this, but as someone who has spent a lot of time around junior high kids, the level of emotional awareness that the characters had felt a bit forced at times. I just had a bit of a hard time believing that a bunch of 13 year old boys were that independent and that aware of their emotions and had the ability to treat those different from them without much stigma or bullying. BUT, I could see it being a good read for a junior high kid to help bring awareness to things like LGBTQ identities, bullying, and mental health. And it was a pretty decent audiobook too.

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Honestly the sequel we all needed. This book duology owns my entire being. I can't believe how many times I almost cried over fictional 13-year-old boys. I cannot express how important all of this representation is.

I got especially emotional over Brian's questioning queerness or potential queerness. He gets really frustrated with himself for not being able to reciprocate romantic feelings and worries a lot about what's going to happen and every single person he talks to about it reassures him that no matter whether or not he develops romantic feelings for people, he can have a happy and fulfilling life. Not once does someone say that he'll find someone one day or that he'll understand when he's older. Even though the word aromantic is not on page, it is there in spirit full freaking force and my heart burst. I honestly got super nervous every time it would come up and he talked to another adult but every single time it was positive.

This book tackles things like sexuality and racism and mental health in a way that is digestible for teenagers and that's something that's so important because kids are not shying away from these topics and we cannot shy away from them as adults. We have to talk about them and I just am so thrilled for this generation that is growing up with books like this. I genuinely hope that this series can find its way to as many middle school classrooms and libraries as possible.

Biracial gay MC, white questioning MC with anxiety and depression, secondary queer characters and bipoc characters

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